Saturday, December 20, 2014

" South South Cooperation and Strong Sustainability to heal the wounds of our darkest times"

South South Cooperation as a concept emerged from the World War II days. Tensions of global, political and international relations manifested and established the importance of cooperation which further oriented itself mostly towards bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the 1950s. This concept later on was mostly marked by dependency theories and a notion of self reliance of countries which finally turned more towards a developmental imperative since 1990s (

Today, south south cooperation means exchange of knowledge, skills, collaborative demonstration projects, movement of people from one country to other. This collaboration is not limited to any one field or area of expertise. It is spreading across fields related to projects dealing with renewable energy, developing solutions for securing energy, livelihoods for the future generation. It has also spread to fields like music, sports where people are coming together to spread peace, ensuring social sustainability. The reason why these collaborations are happening is a testimony to the fact that as humans, nations we are incomplete till we join our hands with another individual near us. That neighbourhood can be within and across communities, nations and different geographical boundaries with the best complementarity to make us complete. The very fact that we need to be complete has a connection with the notion of strong sustainability. We can only be complete when we think of our future and meet our present needs without destroying needs of the future generation.
This requires non substitution of the natural capital by human made physical capital. It also needs a higher emphasis on the ecological space rather than short term economic gains. A strong sustainability concept ( therefore has to primarily give the utmost priority to our ecological space (as the planet Earth has its limited bounty of resources). Only when the biosphere for future generation survives, the society and the economy will survive ( Thus a strong sustainability notion, idea needs to sacrifice short sighted economic benefits for the future gains of mother earth where the biosphere survives and ensures that society and finally economy sustains.

Now, here, I would argue that any South South Cooperation measures of today and tomorrow has to imbibe a notion of strong sustainability. This is because we want to cooperate, collaborate to ensure a sustained bright future as when the future survives, strategic gains of cooperation can be realized. Hence, this requires sacrifice of short term benefits for the bright future of our children through exchange of skills, art, music, people to people contact : moreover all these initiatives can only survive the winds of time, when there is a strong sustainability element in it. And let this initiatives get strengthened through emerging countries like China and India.

Today, Africa has become China's Second Continent (quoted from Howard W. French's new book - "China's Second Continent" - But does this becoming second been based on a strong sustainability principle? Has the collaboration, joint venture projects of China ensure a peaceful society and creates a basis for meeting the needs of the future children of Africa?  The answer to these questions might not be too optimistic in all cases.

Another emerging country like India also has been doing a lot in Africa through infrastructure building, several knowledge exchange initiatives. It has been a part of the process of continuation of India's partnership with Africa since 1950s. However, China and India together need to retrospect how we have been able to do and ensure the implementation of strong sustainability principles in our collaboration ventures in Africa.

Cant India, China set aside their strategic, political goals and interests and work together in Africa and several other parts of the world to ensure a strong sustainability in all their ventures together?. May be the question is too romantic and idealistic in the midst of these world of political strategies. However being a romantic can sometimes be a good political and economic strategy for the larger good of future.

As when these places will survive, the future generations will peacefully grow, China and India will flourish together and that will also mean long term economic gains without compromising the needs of the biosphere and society of these two countries. With the looming resource depletion threats of key resources such a partnership will forge and bring peace across the world. With respect to that, this is also a high time, when India and China needs to collaborate also to bring peace in the region by combating the force of terrorism which will also be another important factor to thwart strong sustainability for the mother earth. Today, terror activities are launched with a future perspective of creating multiplier effects of destruction to nature and gifts of nature like children. The inherent thinking is that if they are hurted, destroyed, the supply potential of terrorists  of future will be ensured more for these terror groups with more military diversion and chaos which will generate more and more human resources to sustain terrorism. In a scary fantasy world it sounds like a fission detonator which creates enough fission to sustain burning of the society like in Danny Boyle's film "Sunshine" where a group of people traverses to a dying Sun to implant fission detonator so that the Sun burns eternally.

If as a response to these terror attacks, more violent military strikes are made, more societal disaster will happen and it will ensure a steady flow of terrorists for these groups who are destroying the strong sustainability of the earth by eradicating the best gift of nature.

Therefore, it is the duty of emerging powers like China and India to join hands together and destroy this force of terrorism which has started its attack on one of the central pillars of strong sustainability. All other political goals, strategic incentives should be kept aside and a full fledged mission should be started together by these countries to protect our messengers of strong sustainability - the children of this earth. Music, sports, films all instruments have to be brought in together by all emerging countries like China and India to mobilize a movement to protect our messengers of strong sustainability. Otherwise, it will become too late to act as we have already destroyed the earth and who knows as a race we now want to destroy the schools and messengers of our strong sustainability. South South Cooperation changed its orientation in 1990s to a developmental one. Time has come for South South Cooperation to adapt to a new dimension to heal the darkest wounds of our times to ensure strong sustainability for biosphere, society and finally the economy. China and India cannot stay ignorant on this for a long time. As it will be too late by then before someday another Peshawar happens in China, India or any country where sane people are wounded by insanity.